In Honor of My Beloved Teachers

Baba Hari DassBaba Hari Dass is a silent monk who has not spoken since 1952 and communicates by writing on a small chalkboard. This verbal silence is a process which gradually quiets the mind and eliminates unwanted thoughts. While this concept may be initially difficult for most of us to understand, the example of Baba Hari Dass is ample expression of the potential for peace that lies within each of us as the result of spiritual discipline and devotion to helping others. Babaji is first and foremost a master yogi, having practiced the disciplines of yoga from childhood. In addition he is an accomplished author, builder, philosopher, sculptor, and proponent of Ayurveda (the ancient Indian system of health and healing). He is also conversant in several languages. Babaji gives his time unstintingly in service to others and has been the inspiration for a variety of service projects.

Geshe Michael Roach is the founder and spiritual director of Diamond Mountain. He was born in Los Angeles in 1952 and was raised in Phoenix, AZ. As a student at Princeton University he concentrated his studies in religion and ancient Sanskrit and Russian language. He met his teacher Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin in 1972 in the U.S. and studied very closely with him after that time. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1983 and is entirely fluent in the spoken and written Tibetan language. After approximately 20 years of daily intensive study with Khen Rinpoche in New Jersey and at Sera Mey monastery in Southern India, Geshe Michael received the Geshe degree in 1995 (akin to a Doctorate of Divinity). He has also studied extensively at Sera Mey with Geshe Thubten Rinchen, one of the great living scripture teachers.

For the past 35 years Amma has dedicated her life to the uplifting of suffering humanity through the simplest of gestures – an embrace. In this intimate manner Amma had blessed and consoled more than 25 million people throughout the world. Amma spends most of her waking hours receiving the distressed and all who come to her for comfort, day after day without a break. As Dr. Jane Goodall, while presenting Amma with the 2002 Gandhi-King Award for Non-violence said, “She stands here in front of us. God’s love in a human body.”

Bikram Choudhury (born 1946) is an Indian yoga guru and the founder of Bikram Yoga, a popular form of hot yoga performed in a copyrighted series of 26 hatha yoga postures done in a hot (105 degrees Fahrenheit or greater) environment. Born in Calcutta, India, Bikram Choudhury began learning Hatha Yoga poses at the age of three. At five, he began studying with his guru Bishnu Ghosh (Paramahansa Yogananda’s brother). At 14, Swami Shivananda declared him “Yogi Raj” (King of the Yogis). At age 20, a weightlifting accident crippled Bikram. He restored himself to health with his 26 posture sequence. In 1972 he opened his first U.S. school in San Francisco. His main school is currently near Hollywood, California. In the 1990s he began offering nine-week teacher certification courses, and certified instructors now number in the thousands with Bikram Yoga studios all over the world.

Adi Da Samraj (1939-2008) was a spiritual teacher, writer and artist, and the founder of a new religious movement known as Adidam. Adi Da initially became known in the spiritual counterculture of the 1970s for his books and public talks, and for the activities of his religious community. His philosophy was essentially similar to many eastern religions which see the ultimate goal of human life as spiritual enlightenment. Adi Da wrote many books about his spiritual philosophy and related matters.

Native of Malaysia, Kam Thye Chow was raised in the tradition of Asian arts and healing customs. He has been practicing Tai Chi Chuan and Chinese massage since the age of 13 and has studied Kung Fu and Chi Gong for more than 20 years. He has taught martial arts and Thai Yoga Massage in North America, Asia and Europe. In 1995, Kam Thye Chow founded the Lotus Palm School in Montreal (Canada) – the first school dedicated to promoting and teaching the art of Thai Yoga Massage.

Rev. Dr. Harvey So Daiho Hilbert-roshi is an ordained Zen Priest in the Soto tradition.  He is the senior disciple and dharma heir of Rev. Ken Hogaku McGuire-roshi. Rev. Daiho-roshi is founder of the Order of Clear Mind Zen.  Rev. Daiho-roshi holds a Ph.D. in Social Work and has over 25 years of experience as a practicing psychotherapist. He lives alone in his residential Zendo in Las Cruces, NM, as well as at Daihoji Refuge in Cloudcroft, NM.

American monk Venerable Sumati Marut (Brian K. Smith) is ordained in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is the Spiritual Director of the Asian Classics Institutes of Los Angeles and the Asian Classics Institute of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Ven. Marut is on the faculty of Diamond Mountain University in Arizona and is a founding Board member and staff instructor of the Yoga Studies Institute. As a Ph.D. and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religions, Ven. Marut taught courses in Indian, Eastern and Comparative Religion for over twenty years at Columbia University and the University of California. He is the author of several scholarly books and translations based on Sanskrit materials.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was a Gaudiya Vaishnava teacher and the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness,[1] commonly known as the “Hare Krishna Movement”.[2] His mission was to propagate the Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a form of Hinduism that had been taught to him by his guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, throughout the world.[3] Born Abhay Charan De in Calcutta,[4] he was educated at the prestigious local Scottish Church College.[5] Before adopting the life of a pious renunciant (vanaprastha) in 1950,[6] he was married with children and owned a small pharmaceutical business.[7][8] In 1959 he took a vow of renunciation (sannyasa) and started writing commentaries on Vaishnava scriptures.

Yogi Bhajan (1929-2004) was a spiritual leader and entrepreneur who introduced Kundalini Yoga and Sikhism to the United States.[2] Yogi Bhajan, was a Master of Kundalini Yoga by the age of 16. In the turbulent, drug culture of the 60s, Yogi Bhajan first reached out to the youth. He recognized their experimentation with drugs and “altered states of consciousness” expressed a deeper desire to experience a holistic, liberating sense of awareness and a longing for family, for connection with themselves and one another. He created a family, known as 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization).

Bhagavan Das is the last living cultural icon of the 60’s. As Ram Das’s mentor (author of Be Here Now) he ushered in the New Age Spiritual Movement being the first Kirtan Artist in America. Living as a sadhu in India for six years, Bhagavan Das studied the ancient science of Nada Yoga under the guidance and direction of his Guru Neem Karoli Baba. Nada Yoga is the path of devotion to the inner sound current as a means to God Realization. Alan Watts himself said in a Rolling Stone review of the Album “Ah” that “Bhagavan Das is truly a Master of Nada Yoga.”

Yogi Amrit Desai is recognized as one of the pioneers of the authentic teachings of yoga in the West. He has been repeatedly honored for following in the footsteps of many of the great spiritual Masters such as Paramahansa Yogananada and Swami Vivekenand in spreading the profound depth of the ancient teachings of India to the world. Gurudev arrived in America in February of 1960. In 1966, he founded the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, MA, which grew to be the largest holistic health center in North America. Today his approach is practiced by thousands around the world, with more than 5,000 certified teachers in 40 countries.

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